Goodbye Maternity Leave, Hello Working Mum

Goodbye Maternity Leave, Time to Prepare Myself for Going Back to Work

Maternity leave

Goodbye Maternity Leave

My maternity leave has come to an end and now it’s time for me to prepare going back to work! How did that happen! I swear I was pregnant like a blink ago! My contract ended whilst I was on maternity leave, so I am on the look out for a new job, as well as trying to prepare myself mentally for leaving my baby and going back to work!

Interview

I have my first interview lined up for Wednesday this week, and I am crazy nervous! It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had an interview, and I have had almost a year off work. During this time I have become accustomed to the stay at home Mum life. I quite like it, it’s been a struggle at times, but it’s been so lovely to be there with both my children, and enjoy so much what I missed out on when my son was a baby. With him I went back to work when he was 3 months old, missing out on so much of his firsts. However being a stay at home Mum isn’t something we can afford permanently at the moment, and I have also missed having the “professional me” who wants to climb the career ladder.

Working Mum

Ironically in my last position, I worked with young people who were out of work, and some who had been out of work for a while. As part of my role, I helped them with their CV, applications and interview techniques. So really, this process should be quite easy for me… or so you would think!

Practice what I Preach 

I am trying to practice what I preached and prepare myself as much as I can for the interview this week. My interview outfit  is ready, minus the shoes! I need to find some interview shoes that are easy to walk in, look professional, and are affordable, all suggestions welcome! To ensure I know where I am going on Wednesday, I will be doing a drive round before my interview. I will be doing some serious research about the company, and the job role, and hopefully once I have done all of this, I will feel confident in my interview. A statement I stand by in all aspects of life, and something I’d always tell my clients was “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

I have put together a list of my top interview tips! Read them here!

Most importantly for me at the moment is, I am mentally trying hard to prepare myself for going back to work. I can totally understand why people find it hard to go back to work after being out of it for a while. It’s daunting. I mean there’s a million questions running around in my head. Am I doing the right thing? Will I get the Job? If I do, will I be able to do the job? Will they like me? Will my children cope with me not being around all the time, will I be able to cope without being around my children all the time? How am I going to know the answer to any of these unless I take the jump and head back to work. So Wish me luck! I am going to need it!

Working Mum

Keep a look out for my post on how my interview went! I’d love to hear other parents views on how they felt going back to work. Leave your comments below 🙂

Babies are Natural Yogi’s – Mother and Baby Yoga.

Babies are Natural Yogi’s – Mother and Baby Yoga

Yoga baby After attending Yogabellies with Vicky when I was pregnant, and loved every minute of it, I decided I was going back to her class once I had my daughter, and attend her mother and baby class. Read about the pregnancy yoga class here

It was so lovely walking into the class, and seeing ladies who were at my pregnancy class with their babies, and new mums that had joined the class with their babies.

Vicky was as welcoming as she was during the pregnancy class, and made everyone feel at ease. In usual tradition, we sat on the mats, and spoke about our week. We all had a lot to catch up on since the last time all met! This continues at the start of every class, it’s so nice to be able to speak openly about how you are feeling, without being judged by anyone in the class. It’s lovely to hear about how all the other babies are progressing, and watching them hit their milestones, and grow.

Yoga We move onto our breathing exercises, like we did in pregnancy, and get to zone into ourself. Although sometimes the babies don’t allow this, they just want to play, want fed, or they need changed! But anything goes in class, and I love that. I don’t feel bad when I have to sit and feed Darcie, or if she’s just wanting to play instead of joining in, it’s just nice to be amongst other mothers who’s babies are at the same stage, and are also causing chaos!

I love that the babies get to do some yoga too, with plenty of singing. Darcie is rolling now and trying hard to crawl, so a lot of the time she is trying to escape from her stretches! But she certainly enjoys the singing. She loves to see all the other babies, and on occasion has rolled over to their mat to say hello! Darcies little friend from little chicken crafts

Yoga Now it’s time for us mummies! Sometimes anyways! If our little cherubs allow us, we get to do some yoga of our own. For me personally it’s great to learn new yoga poses, I had never done any yoga until I was pregnant, so I’m still learning. It’s also great to get in a bit of a workout too, as it’s not always possible when your at home with the baby. We incorporate the babies into all of the moves, whether we are holding them, or if we are just talking to them, making eye contact throughout. They are a part of it, and it’s lovely to have that time to bond with them.

Towards the end of the class, it’s time for savasana. Vicky will read a meditation extract. These have been so helpful for me, as there has been some weeks, I’ve struggled with my anxiety, and her words really relate, and always make me feel better. It’s a great time to just sit and cuddle baby, and be in that moment. There’s always something so calming about vickys voice too, that you instantly feel relaxed!

Savasana Time for a cuppa and a catch up with the mummies! Vicky hires the room out for 2 hours, even though the class is an hour long. She brings cakes, flowers, and tea, and goes over and above what we expect. Sometimes that chance to sit and chat with the other Mums is just what we need. Especially if it has been a tough week. It’s great to know you aren’t alone. Vicky is more than an instructor, she has become a friend to us all in the class, she has been there throughout our pregnancy journeys, and is now watching our babies grow! So a big shout out to Vicky!

I really feel that yoga has helped with my anxieties, and I feel that it really helps people with their mental health. Keep a look out for a post about that coming out soon. I’d love to hear other Mothers experience with Mummy and baby yoga!

Namaste 🙏🏻

Thrive – The App That Helps Your Mental Health Thrive!

Thrive – The App That Helps Your Mental Health Thrive!

Disclosure In the age of technology, there are so many different websites and Apps out there to help people who suffer from mental health conditions. I have recently downloaded an app called Thrive, and I can safely say, that this is one of my favourites!

Technology

Thrive is an app specifically designed to help people who suffer from mental health conditions, and for me personally I really needed something that would help me when I was struggling, and right now, I’m struggling with my anxiety. So it was perfect timing to try out the app.

When I first log into the App, it asked me about how I’m feeling, and a sliding colour scale. Red feeling rubbish – Green feeling great. As my anxiety levels are pretty high, I sit in the bottom end of the Amber colour.

Thrive

Working my way through the App it then asks me why I’m feeling that way. Lots of suggestions come up in bubbles on the screen, and all I have to do is click which ones are relevant to me. This process continues, so it can find out the cause of my anxiety. This also works if your feeling great too, and you are at the top end of the scale. It looks at why you are feeling happy. It’s a great way, to gain appreciation of what makes you happy in life.

Depression and anxiety

Working through a questionnaire, the app helps to assess how I am feeling. Like I said previously, my anxiety levels are high, so I knew my results would come back to suggest that, which they did. It offered me a very helpful link to the NHS website, a number for nhs direct and the Samaritans helpline. It also gives me suggestion on what could help ease my anxieties.

Features

This app has a lot of features, that are all amazing, the ones below are my favourite, and help me the most.

Meditation – I love yoga and meditation, so this part of the App is defiantly my favourite. It allowed me to zone out of life, and zone into myself. I had a variety of different sections to complete once in the meditation part of the app. It’s a great way to relax particular at bedtime, and when I feel my anxiety taking over.

Thrive

Message in a bottle – This is where you can write words of encouragement to other people that use the app, and send it in to a bottle. I love this, as it lets you connect with other people who are struggling with similar battles to yourself.

Thrive

Breathing – Much like meditation, being in touch with your breathe, and learning to control it, to help you relax is great. Especially if your anxious about something, it’s great to take time to concentrate on your breathing, and calm yourself down.

Thrive

Progress– This part of the App allows your to track your progress of your mood, it’s a good way to look and see if certain dates, times, months trigger your mental health, it also allows you to see if you are imporoving, and if the app is helping your mental health get better.

Thrive

These are just a few of the amazing features of this app. I am loving it, and it’s really helping me out. Below is the link to the App, aswell as a code to receive a free trial! Please try it out and leave your feedback, I’d love to hear how everyone else is getting on, and If it helps them as much as it helps me!

https://feelstressfree.com/payments/package.html

Where it states I have a coupon, enter the code below 🙂

CODE – THRIVE1804

It Is Easier To Build Strong Children, Than To Repair Broken Adults

It’s Easier to Build Strong Children, Than To Repair Broken Adults.

Welcome back to my blog. Continuing on from my Mental health series I have had the pleasure of reviewing My Happy Journal Mental healthSearching through Instagram one night I came across the happy journal page. I instantly loved it. The feed was so beautiful and colourful. Defiantly expressing happiness. I started to research about their company, and had seen that they make journals for kids to help them express themselves. I contacted Kirsty who very kindly sent me a journal for my Son.

Social Media

Being a child can be tough, and from experience with my own son, they can be really hard on themselves. Sometimes there is so much pressure on them to exceed in life, to work hard at school, to have good manners, to behave all the time, to be the best at everything, and to be better than everyone else.

Especially in this day and age, where social media and the internet is very much in kids/teenagers lives. I dread the day when my kids are old enough to access social media, and start to compare themselves to what they see online.

Mental health Mental Health

Mental Health in children is something that is rarely spoken about, but it very much exists. My own son was going through some anxiety, and there’s no worse feeling as a parent watching your child have to battle with themselves, and their own thoughts, and being totally helpless.

Early Intervention

Something that I am a big fan of is early intervention. I feel if you can help a child at their earliest point, they are less likely to grow up fighting these battles. My Happy Journal is a massive part of this. It allows you to bond with your child, and discuss their worries, as well as celebrating what they found good in that day.

My Happy Journal

It arrived in beautiful packaging full of confetti with a hand written note to my son. This was so personal and thoughtful. Kirsty has also included positive quote cards which we so inspirational.

So we opened the journal, and on the first page their is a note for the adults, this tells us about Kirsty’s vision, and why she had made the journal. As well as a couple of inspirational quotes.

Working through the journal

There is a 90 days for your child to fill out, they don’t have to be consecutive, just whenever your child feels like it. There is a page for your child to fill out his or her details, write down some of their favourite things, draw or put a photograph of themselves in. Make it their own. One thing that I expressed to my son through this, was that this is his journal, he can put what he wants in it, can draw and decorate it how he likes, it was his to do as he pleased with.

There are then pages where they can log what they enjoyed about their day. As I said above, kids can be so hard on themselves, so I like that they can pick out three good things about their day, and to be able to reflect on the positive things in life, instead of just focusing on the negatives.

Inspirational

There is happy, inspirational quotes throughout the journal, with lots of pages where the can draw and colour, and express themselves through art, which was a big positive for my son. Drawing is one of his favourite things to do. So he loves this about the journal. There is also a variety of fun facts and some tasks for the kids to work through too.

There has defiantly been a lot of thought and time put into these journals, and I feel designed for all kids, whether they are battling with a mental health condition or not. It’s a great way to bond with your child, and to find out more about their day. My son isn’t a massive fan of writing at the moment, and that can put him of doing tasks, so we have decided he will tell me what to write down, and then he can draw and colour the pages. I actually quite like this too, as it allows us to talk about his day, and reflect on the positives together. I would recommend this journal to anyone that asked, even if you child is like my son and doesn’t like to write, you can still talk about the positives and write them down for them.

My Opinion

I also feel this would be super beneficial for children battling with a mental health condition. When a child is constantly battling with their own thoughts all day, it can be really difficult for them to focus on anything positive, and I really feel this would help. It’s not like homework, it’s not a chore, it’s something that you can enjoy with your child together, and as part of a family.

Mental health

I’ve always loved him, I just didn’t like me – Amy’s Story

I’ve always loved him, I just didn’t like me – Amy’s Story

Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today’s blog post is the last in this months mental health series. A massive thank you to all that allowed me to share their stories, and helping me spread awareness. If you missed yesterday’s interview with Kaila get that here. Today I am joined by Amy who battled with postnatal depression and anxiety. Please show your support, like, leave a comment and share this post.

Mental health Hi Amy, thank you so much for taking part in this series, please tell me a bit about yourself?

I am a Mum of one, Harry is 20 months old, and I live with my partner Luke in Leeds. I work from home in a part time, flexible role that involves social media manager and content writer. It’s a fairly new career which I began after being made redundant very early on in my pregnancy. I’m so happy that I’ve had this chance to move to a career that I enjoy, but handling losing my job, starting again with work and being a Mum for the first time has all had an effect on my mental health.

What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?

I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression and Anxiety just before Christmas, although it’s interesting that my counsellor didn’t always define it in that way. After having 8 weeks of sessions with her, she suggested that the depression and anxiety issues have existed for some years, but it was becoming a Mum that triggered me not being able to cope with them. I didn’t know that PND could be diagnosed so late after the baby being born (he was about 15 months old when I asked for help) and I think that delayed me recognising the condition for a while.

A lot of people don’t realise that it can be diagnosed later when the babies older, or that you can actually get PND later on in the babies life too.

When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?

I was really struggling to cope with taking on more work once Harry went to nursery. I couldn’t prioritise work, I was missing deadlines and I just felt like nothing I did was good enough. Slowly it started to get worse as the pressure mounted and I buried my head rather than dealing with what was going wrong. I would spend the day in bed and there was one day where I simply didn’t want to come out from under the cover. It affected my sleep too, I’d lay awake all night worrying about work and Harry and then couldn’t work the next day because I was too tired. I felt anger towards Harry too, which I hated. I found him so frustrating and there was a day where I just couldn’t look at him because he had annoyed me so much. I wanted to get on a train and leave and I found myself regularly planning what I would pack and where I would go. It was that day when I couldn’t be around him any more that I decided to call the doctor – I was crying in the street in York about not being able to be a good Mum and I knew I’d hit my lowest point

That sounds like it was a really difficult time for you. I’m glad you were able to recognise at that point you needed help, and reached out for it.

How did this affect your parenting?

I think I just had a short temper and I never, ever felt like I was any good at it. I constantly felt like Harry deserved better but, amazingly, he has turned into a happy boy who loves me. I do think, looking back, that it affected our bond too – lack of sleep, pressure from breastfeeding and a resentment that my life was suddenly all about cleaning and cooking made me struggle to deal with letting go of being single. I’ve always loved him, I’ve just not really liked me since I had him.

What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?

Letting Harry and Luke down, I didn’t want to be a burden. Admitting that there was something seriously wrong and not just that I was tired was so hard and I’ve worried about making other people worry. I also didn’t think it was serious enough to ask for help, I spent time with women who had been suicidal and experienced psychotic episodes and I always felt like they ought to be prioritised. My counsellor helped me to see that I was wrong though and that we all need support to help us see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?

I spoke to a GP on two occasions. The first she offered advice – but said to come back if I didn’t feel better and then the second she suggested I self-refer for counselling. I think that’s a really important point, to not give up or let them fob you off. You do have to keep asking if you need help and, to be fair to my doctors, they have been a really great support. I referred to Leeds ITAP who then put me in touch with a counsellor named Debbie. From the moment I booked my first appointment with her I felt a weight lift, for the first time in a while I felt like I’d actually done something good and it was the start to me getting on top of life again. I had 8 weeks of appointments with Debbie and I also started taking Fluoxitene while I was seeing her.

Has your mental health improved since?

Definitely, the counselling made a huge difference. I was able to speak to Debbie about things that were on my mind and it was incredible the different things that came up. Conversations were completely lead by me and, unexpectedly, they covered things like my parents, my ex-boyfriends, my current partner and his family and the common theme was that I have felt like I’m not good enough for them or to be treated well. The main thing I got out of the sessions was that Debbie taught me to reflect on the way I’m feeling rather than just try to get over it when I feel low. The high points too, focusing on why certain things make me feel good helps me do more of that in the future. She advised that I start keeping a diary and I have kept that up since because it gives me a chance to write down a couple of things every day that have happened (good and bad) and reflect on how they made me feel and how I can use that for the future.

It sounds like talking to Debbie has been a massive help, I am a massive fan of talking therapy.

What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?

As I say, the diary really helps so I need to make sure I keep that up. But I think part of that is the fact that I love to write, so allowing myself to create content for my blog helps to get passions and frustrations out rather than letting them fester inside me. I am lucky to have a very active social life too, I spend time with friends and I go to the football regularly – things that help me keep in touch with the me I was before I had Harry. Housework is reduced to the bare basics during the week – I do the dishwasher and washing machine once a day and maybe tidy Harry’s toys, but I try not to feel bogged down by anything else until Luke is around to help. I refuse to do the ironing as well! And then, of course, there’s time spent with Harry and Luke. It’s when I am at my happiest and I try to make sure we get the chance to do that regularly as it keeps me going when things are busy and hard.

Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?

There are some amazing services available and I’m lucky that in Leeds I have easy access to lots of support. The trouble is, I know that isn’t the case everywhere so perhaps more needs to be done to offer help online. I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups to help (Mums4Mums is specifically designed to help Mums with Mental Health) and it’s great that that means there’s always someone there to help me. But I think the main issue is that the wider public don’t really understand it. People see you getting on with every day Mum life and think you must be okay, more education might help people recognise when their friends or partners are going through it.

What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?

Reach out and talk to people, find the person you can be honest with about everything and make sure you have time to really talk it through properly. When people ask how you are, be honest, don’t just say ‘I’m okay’. I’ve recently started putting more statuses on Facebook and Twitter that show others the times that are hard as well as the happy ones – I hope that’ll help my friends who are Mums understand we don’t all live perfect lives.

Thank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and helping me spread awareness. If you want to follow Amy’s journey her details are below.

Much love 💕

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I Was Too Ashamed To Tell My Husband – Kaila’s Story

I Was Too Ashamed To Tell My Husband – Kaila’s Story

Hi all, and welcome back to my mental health series, if you missed yesterdays interview with Ann, get that here. Today I am joined by Kaila from Successfully simple sisters who is talking to me about her battle with Postpartum depression. Please show your support, like, leave a comment, and share this post.

Married Hi Kaila, thank you so much for taking part in my series, please tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Kaila Penner and I’m a mother of one boy (born December 2016). I’m happily married to my husband of 4 years. I have a degree in psychology, a background in mental health counselling, and I’ve worked in a group home setting as well. I currently work in Learning and Development (providing training and development opportunities to employees) at a tech company in Iowa.

What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?

I suffered from post-partum depression from the time my son was born (or shortly after) until he was about 5 months old. I go into much more depth on this in my blog post

When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?

I think I finally admitted I had a mental health condition when my son was about 5 weeks old. I was sitting in my living room and I stared at my son on the floor feeling detached from him. He didn’t feel like mine. I saw my husband cuddle with him and I could visibly see the love in his eyes toward our son and I knew I didn’t look like that when I held my son.

After this realization, I started to realize that I cried almost all day, every day. That might sound like a exaggeration but it’s absolutely not. I cried several hours a day, every single day of the week. I knew that wasn’t normal.

That sounds like it would have been exhausting too.

How did this affect your parenting?

Dealing with PPD made me question my ability to be a good mom. I constantly questioned why God gave me a child that I couldn’t even handle while there are people who would be awesome parents and may never have children of their own.

I took an 11-week maternity leave and I didn’t appreciate my son during that time. I literally counted down the days until I could go back to work. I somehow felt like he could tell and would later resent me for it.

What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?

I had two worries: The first worry was that my family and friends would tell me that I wasn’t capable of taking care of my son. The second was that I would end up being a bad mom because I personally lived it. I personally saw the struggles my mom and grandma faced from raising children with depression. I didn’t want to end up like that. I didn’t want to struggle every day like they did – and I know they would wish the same for me.

Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?

I didn’t receive any help for two reasons. The first reason was because I simply couldn’t afford it. We actually weren’t even able to pay our bills during my maternity leave from my decreased pay (my husband owns his own business that isn’t yet profitable). Secondly, from my formal education, experience in the field, and personal experience with my family, I was convinced that I was above this. I was convinced it was normal and every mom felt that way. I was scared.

We are fortunate in the uk that money doesn’t come into healthcare. It’s unfair that it was a big issue for you. There should be support for new mothers regardless of cost, especially when their mental health comes into it.

Has your mental health improved since?

I’m fortunate enough to say that I have completely turned around from this. I woke up one day when my son was around 5 months old and realized I felt, different. I felt better. I felt normal.

I’m glad you were able over come this.

What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?

My faith is the foundation of my life. I find comfort in prayer, so I sought out God whenever it got rough. Additionally, my blog has been a great outlet for my mental health, as well. I find writing therapeutic, literally, so I often write when I start to feel those thoughts coming on.

Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?

There is definitely not enough support for parents with mental health issues. The mental health stigma limits the number of people willing to come forward with such issues (I’m one of them, until now).

What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?

My advice for you is to tell someone. I was too ashamed to even tell my husband (which is unusual because my husband and I are incredibly close.) When you are dealing with a mental illness, you are clouded by the symptoms and likely unable to see the situation objectively. It takes someone on the outside who isn’t personally battling the same things you are to step out and take the first step toward recovery.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and to help me spread Awareness. If you want to follow Kaila’s journey, her details are below. Tomorrow is the last day of this series, and I’m going to be talking to Amy about her battle with PND.

Mental health Much love 💕

Blog: https://www.successfullysimplesisters.com<<<<

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I Want Him To Be Able, To Be, Whatever He Wants to Be – Ann’s Story

I Want Him To Be Able, To Be, Whatever He Wants to Be – Ann’s Story

Hi all, and welcome back to my mental health series. If you missed the last interview with Jenni get that here. Today I am joined by Ann from rainbowsaretoobeautiful who is talking to me about her son’s battle with Anxiety. Please show your support, like, leave a comment and share this post.

Mental health Tell me a bit about yourself, and your child.

I’m Ann, mum to three, part-time teacher, charity trustee and special educational needs writer.  My eldest son is Anthony.  He is a funny, nearly ten year old autistic boy who is seriously into motor racing.

What mental health condition does your child have, or potentially have?

Anthony really struggles with anxiety.  It’s quite common for kids with autism and ADHD like Anthony.

When did you first notice that your child may have a mental health condition?

When he was around six or seven we noticed that Anthony was struggling particularly with making decisions.  It would become so worried about them that he’d end in tears.

How did this make you feel as a parent?

I was concerned.  I think perhaps if mental health was one of first difficulties Anthony had faced I might have been more worried, but the truth is he deals with a lot and in a way I wasn’t surprised that this could have happened.  More than anything I just wanted to make sure we told someone about it so he could get help if he needed it.

Did your child express any concerns to you about how they were feeling?

Not really. I think he lives very much in the moment and he’s either happy or not, entertained or not.  But anxiety was often just always there and I’m not sure he really felt different to usual, we simple were recognising it.

What help have they received?

We were referred to CAMHS as along with his anxiety we were concerned about a potential misdiagnosis of his sensory seeking activities.  We thought he might have ADHD.  It turned out that he really did – scored as high as is possible in most of the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. Getting to grips with this helped a bit with his anxiety.  We also told him about his autism and ADHD and again I think this empowered him.  He stills gets upset and struggles with decisions but tends to identify the issue which really helps him.

I am glad you were able to get the correct diagnosis for your son.

How do you help your child? What makes them happy?

We try and help him to recognise what he’s feeling and then help him think about what he could do.  We used a great traffic light system for a while where he had to really think about how important his worries really worry as opposed to how big they felt.

I have seen traffic light systems before, and think it’s a really helpful way for children to deal with their emotions, and challenges.

What is your biggest worry for them as their parent?

Like all the other thing, it’s about them being able to be and do whatever they want to be and want to be able to do without being limited by how they feel or their conditions.

Do you feel like there is enough support out there, for children who suffer from mental health conditions, and their parents?

Not really.  I think without also seeking a diagnosis for ADHD we would have got very little help and we were fortunate to be able to access support for his anxiety around that process.

What advice would you give to another parent, who’s child has or may have a mental health condition?

Anthony’s clinical psychologist gave me a great piece of advice once about Anthony’s worries.  She said not to ever tell him that his worry wasn’t important because then Anthony would have two things to worry about 1) His original worry and 2) That I thought he was silly and wasn’t going to help him.

I think about this a lot even when I talk to my other kids and think it’s a great piece of advice.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, and helping me raise awareness. 

If you want to follow Ann and her son’s journey, her details are below. Tomorrow I am speaking with Kaila who is talking to me about her battle with postpartum depression. Post will go live at 9am. 

Much Love 💕

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You Are Not Weak, You Are Strong – Jenni’s Story

You Are Not Weak, You Are Strong – Jenni’s Story

Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today is day 26 of my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Mel get that here. Today I am joined by Jenni from rasing my little sup who is talkng to me about her battle with Postnatal depression. Please show your support, and like this post, leave a comment, and share.

Mental health Hi Jenni, thank you so much for taking part in this series, please tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m a Mum of two gorgeous children. I have a 9 year daughter and a 5 year old son

What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?

I was first diagnosed with Post Natal Depression two weeks after my daughter was born in 2009. I weaned myself off of my medication but was then re-diagnosed when my son was 2 and a half years old

When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?

I didn’t realised that I was suffering from PND after my daughter was born, it was my GP/OB who told me. Two weeks to the date after my daughter was born, after a four day labour that resulted in an emergency caesarean, I ended up back in hospital as my c-section scar split open due to a very nasty infection. As the nurses and doctors were cleaning up my wound, I was a complete mess and I said words to the effect og “nothing is going right, the only good things in my life is my baby” to which my GP/OB said “Jen, you have a beautiful baby and a loving husband and everything is going to be okay. But we need to put you on some happy pills to think logically.”

When I was re-diagnosed with PND

My son was 2 and a half years old, I was more aware of how I was feeling. I was still a bubbling mess in my GP’s office but not due to having a newborn nor was it due to having two very active children. It was due to the fact that we, as a family, weren’t being taken seriously by medical and educational professionals about my son’s overall health, development and challenging behaviour. I brought the possibility up with my GP that I thought that I may be suffering from PND again and he agreed.

Not many people realise that you can develop postnatal depression when your children are a little older, or that it can return.   

How did this affect your parenting?

Being diagnosed with PND didn’t really affect my parenting as such. It made me more aware of my emotions and how I was feeling at certain points in time. Particularly after the birth of my second child. I was more aware of keeping on top of how I was feeling and as soon as I felt the same feelings of hopelessness return, I went straight back to my GP for help.

What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?

My biggest worry when I was diagnosed after the birth of my daughter was how I would be viewed by my friends, family and workmates. At the time I was on maternity leave as a police officer and all I could think was that police officers do not get PND. I had the mistaken belief that people would view me as weak and not capable. I really wasn’t thinking logically about how I was feeling about my PND. And I can now see that my illogical thoughts about PND back in 2009 were due to the misconceptions that I had about PND.I now know that PND is quite common amongst both women and men and yet there still seems to be somewhat of a taboo status surrounding it.

Definatly, it has become more of a talking point, but we defiantly have a long way to go as

Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?

I received assistance from my GP on both occasions in the form of general chats during appointments as to how I was going. I also sought assistance from our child health nurses just to talk about how life was going. After I was re-diagnosed in 2014 I was much more open with my friends as some of them had also been diagnosed with PDN so it was good to talk things through with them as we realised that we could all help each other.

Having a good support system really does make a difference. Especially when you have people that relate to what you are going through.

Has your mental health improved since?

It certainly has. When I was re-diagnosed in 2014, I was much more open about being diagnosed. I was also much more accepting of who I was, PND and all. It is a part of me. I have tried, with my GP’s assistance to wean myself off the medication, but it is something that I need to think logically. Staying on my happy pills, as I call them, makes me a better person for me, my husband and my children

What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?

I do as much self-care as I can through reading books, I blog about our families journey with autism, I spend quality time with my family, doing activities such as sewing and crocheting. I things that remind me of who I am. I am Mum and a wife but I am me first and foremost. To look after my family to the best of my ability, I have to look after me first. I have also started doing mindfulness activities with my children – these not only help my state of mind but also helps them with their anxiety.

Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?

To be perfectly honest, it is getting better but there is still a lot of work to do. There still seems to a taboo status around PND and as such people still seem to be embarrassed to admit that they have been diagnosed with PND or any mental health issue. The more we talk about these issues, then hopefully the taboo status will gradually disappear. It won’t be an overnight process but we will get there. As a parent I felt that I needed to be strong all the time, but I now know that I can have moments of weaknesses. And I honestly believe that be acknowledging that I have been diagnosed with PDN makes me strong as I have been able to recognise that I needed help.

What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?

Being diagnosed with PND doesn’t mean that you are weak. As mentioned above, you are strong as you’ve recognised that to be the best version of you for your family, you need a little assistance in the form of happy pills. Stay strong and talk to your family and friends – you may be surprised who also has been diagnosed with a mental health issue. Hugs and love, I’ve got your back xxxThank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and helping me spread awareness. Thank you so much for your great advice, and words of encouragement for my readers.

If you would like to follow Jenni’s jourey, her details are below. Tomorrow I am speaking Ann, who is talking about her son’s battle with mental health conditions.

Much Love 💕

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You Are Not Alone – Mel’s Story – Mental Health Awareness

You Are Not Alone – Mel’s Story – Mental Health Awareness

Hi all, and welcome back to my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Rachel, get that here. Today I am joined by Mel from leicoindemel. Mel is talking to me today about her battle with OCD. Please show your support, and like. leave a comment, and share this post.

Mental Health

Hi Mel, Thank you so much for taking part in my mental health awareness month, please tell me abit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Mel and I have four gorgeous children aged 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Until a couple of years ago, I was teaching French in a North London secondary school. I’m now working freelance as a photographer, blogger at “Le coin de mel” and recipe developer.

Tell me a bit about your mental health condition

OCD (OCD NHS) has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s sometimes my best friend (go, organised me!) but it can also be my worst enemy at times (hello crippling anxiety!).

OCD is an acronym people use and overuse so much it sometimes feels like it’s lost its meaning. It sounds like everyone is ‘a bit OCD’ from time to time. The thing though is… an obsessive–compulsive disorder is not just having a tidy home, or clean kitchen surfaces… The rituals, anxiety and obsessions can be exhausting, crippling even.

I agree, I think people can be guilty of just throwing that phrase around.

What Struggles do you/did you face?

I wrote about OCD and how it made me feel just a few weeks before I decided to seek help and get it sorted. Here is how it felt to live with unmanageable OCD

I was simply not able to to let go of my routines and ‘quirks’ to the point they dominated me. I would isolate myself, not wanting to talk at the most difficult of times. I would hold on to my soul-destroying perfectionism, always trying to reach an unachievable goal. I felt guilty about the way I was yet I was beating myself up for never being good enough. It was basically like being a dog running after its tail, 24/7…

When planning to start a family, did you have any worries, if so what were they?

I was worried my future children would be like me, that I would pass the OCD on. It was a scary thought, so in order to break the cycle, I have worked really hard to get my condition under control.

How did your mental health condition affect you during pregnancy?

It affected me in different ways in my 4 pregnancies, but the most obvious symptom was obsessive-compulsive nesting for a large part of each pregnancy. I would bleach the house from top to bottom (literally – even ceilings got bleached), I would spend a fortune on cleaning products and spend every spare minute cleaning and organising, wrecking my back in the process. The most extreme things I did were spending £279 on cleaning products in the supermarket and cleaning the loft (vacuum cleaner up the ladder, dusted all boxes and beams…) when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my 3rd baby…

Wow that sounds like it would have been really exhausting too! 

Has it or did it impact your parenting?

Strangely enough, I think it has made me a more relaxed parent because I worked so hard on getting my OCD under control I tend not to let it rear its ugly head and I keep calm and stress-free as much as I can.

That’s a great achievement, It’s not easy to keep it under control. 

Did you receive any help? If so what was it?

I spoke to my doctor about it, as well as my health visitor after I’d given birth to my fourth baby. A few weeks after I wrote this blog post, I started CBT and SSRI antidepressants. I also attended counselling sessions and self-referred to my local Home start charity . All these things, together with the exercises recommended during the CBT sessions, helped me break the cycle and feel ‘normal’ at last.

Do you feel like there is enough support and help for people suffering from mental health conditions?

There is, once you gather the courage to seek help.

What advice would you give to someone who has a mental health condition.

Talk about it and seek help. No one will judge you. You are not alone.

Thank you so much on taking the time out to answer my questions, and help me spread awareness. If you would like to follow Mels journey, her details are below. Tomorrow I am joined by Jenni, who is talking to me about her battle with PND. Post goes live at 9am.

Much love 💕

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lecoindemel/<<<<<< ram: https://www.instagram.com/lecoindemel/<<<<<< r: https://twitter.com/LeCoindeMel<<<<<< ok: https://www.facebook.com/lecoindemel/<<<<<< e: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCubvJxV0Tt0aQDOo_1SiV3g 

I Was Scared Of Being Judged – Rachel’s Story – Mental Health Matters

I Was Scared Of Being Judged – Rachel’s Story – Mental Health Matters

Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today is day 24 of my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Kathleen, get that here. Today I am joined by Rachel from mummyintraining. Rachel is talking to me today about her battle with Postnatal Anxiety. Please show your support, and like, leave a comment, and share this post.

Mental Health Hi Rachel, thank you so much for taking part in my mental health series, please tell me a bit about yourself?

I am Rachel, I’m 32 and live in the West Midlands with my husband and two children – Samuel who is 5 and Lydia who is 20 months. I am a full time mum and a blogger at Mummy in Training.

What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?

I have Post Natal Anxiety.

When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?

I first felt like there was something was wrong when my son was about 6 months old but I had no clue it was anxiety. I started to suffer from really bad bouts of dizziness which I now know was coming from hyper ventilating when I felt anxious. It was a good 6 months or so after this until I realised and accepted that I had a mental health condition.

How did this affect your parenting?

The main thing it affected was taking my baby boy out on my own, I was very scared to take him out for fear of him crying or being sick, the usual baby things really. I feel really sad now to think I lost out on quite a lot of experiences with him as a baby because of my anxiety.

I have days like this still with my anxiety, I want to go out all the time, but it seems to stop me walking out my front door.

Mental Health What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?

I was scared of being judged. I was scared that people would think that if I had anxiety then I wasn’t normal or not a very good Mum. I still am scared of this in certain situations.

Such a common fear in Parents with mental health conditions.

Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?

I tried to manage it myself after having my son which was a bad idea in hindsight. After my second pregnancy where I lost one of my twins at 29 weeks I seeked help when my anxiety peaked for a second time. I was put on a low dose of anti depressants and I am still on those now.

I am really sorry to hear about one of your twins.

Has your mental health improved since?

I am definitely still an anxious person, some days more than others. However, I can deal with things a lot better than I used to and push through more situations if I need to.

What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?

Self care is a massive part of my weekly routine now. I have realised if I don’t look after myself than my anxiety gets worse and I end up struggling a lot more to be a good Mum and to get on with life. I try and have some time to myself every week and do something I enjoy like read a book or watch a bit of trashy TV.

Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?

This is a tricky question to answer. I feel like there is certainly a lot more support out there for parents. Even when I became a first time Mum over 5 years ago there was a lot less support out there than there is now. However I do think there is still a lot stigma surrounding it and an element of people still not knowing what to say. It is definitely going in the right direction though.

Slowly but surely it’s getting there, we still have a long way to go as a society in accepting, and treating mental health conditions.

What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?

Talk. You might not be ready to talk to a professional but talk to someone. I know I felt a lot better when I told my best friend about it. Just saying it out loud can help a great deal. Having someone to hold your hand through tough times can make such a difference.

Thank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and helping me spread awareness. If you would like to follow Rachels Journey, her details are below. Tomorrow’s inteview is with Mel, who has battled with OCD. 

Much Love 💕

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